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If you're at all familiar with Brad Jones' Cinema Snob program you'll have a blast recognizing faces in the cast. If you're unfamiliar with The Cinema Snob program or its cast you're less likely to consider this a satisfying film. Writer-director Brad Jones is clearly trying to emulate the great film noir classics with this would-be thriller but he lacks the experience to elevate this film above its numerous clichés. Brad Jones has an appealing screen presence as proved on his show The Cinema Snob but the rest of the cast might as well be cardboard cutouts. The only other performer in the cast that manages to make anything happen with her scenes is Brad's real-life wife, Jillian, who plays the waitress Claire. I'd personally like to see Brad attempt something outside of the thriller genre, he does a splendid job with comedy (something I felt this film could have used more of). This film takes itself far too seriously when a more ironic approach might have resulted in a fresher product. I can't completely write off "Paranoia" as it features excellent production values considering its limited budget. The cinematography, locations, costuming, and scoring are all convincing and the craftsmen behind the scenes are clearly a talented group. My fingers are crossed for something better in the future from Brad Jones and Company.
My friends and I usually watch budget films for laughs. Favorite budget
films that come to mind are Birdemic, Revamped, and The Room. This
movie is NOTHING like those.
I was blown away at the video's quality, the music, and most of the sound and acting, too (there were hiccups in the acting, as well as the sound, but it was very rare that anyone missed a beat). The plot was very good, although the movie /did/ drag slightly. However, overall, I was very pleased with the entire show.
I heard that the film was made with the intention of proving a film could be good without a huge budget. If that is the case, they did a terrific job proving their point. I was much more entertained by this than I was most mega-films, such as any recent Terminator, Pirates, Waterworld, and Transformers.
That being said, if you like movies that blow you away with special effects, obviously an indie movie isn't for you, and you'll want to steer clear of it.
I'm giving it a solid 7 out of 10, which is much higher than I would rate most movies, because it is a good movie, but again, there is a little room for improvement.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What can I say about 'Paranoia'? I try my hardest to get behind indie
no budget projects like this if I see potential for improvement on a
broader canvas. In the rare circumstances, the project transcends the
microcosm canvas. I wanted to like 'Paranoia' because I do love Brad
Jones of 'Cinema Snob' fame. He is a tremendous personality and easily
my favorite of the internet reviewer crop. I do not think I need to
give any further explanation of Jones or his website but if you are not
familiar with it than it is a must see. 'Paranoia' is not a good
introduction to Jones. I think it is the worst thing he has ever put
his name on. The whole thing is a damn mess from top to bottom and I
really can't piece where I see the greatest flaws because so much is
The script and dialogue read like something a thirteen year old would write. The script is all about creating false sense of 'mysterious' presence. The result is that this thriller doesn't have any thrills because there is no build up to anything. No tangible motivation is given to Jones' character Mark Bishop to really do anything, he has a body and he drives around with looking angsty about it. So Bishop doesn't really do anything but sigh and smoke his cigarette. A lot of these long montages of Bishop doing this are unintentionally funny.
The surprise ending can be seen by an intelligent and alert person about forty minutes before it happens. There is less than subtle indicating in both the script and the acting. 'Paranoia' has the same problem with other stories where people lose touch with reality, we have to be able to believe the hero somewhat.
Completely gone from 'Paranoia' is the sense of humor that has won Jones his fans. For a man who has made a career out of parodying and complaining about pretentious films, the sad fact is he's made one. 'Paranoia' takes it's self way too seriously.
Yet, this isn't my main problem with the film. The acting is terrible on all accounts except for maybe Jones and a small cameo from Jerrid Foiles. People familiar with 'Cinema Snob' will no doubt recognize everyone from Brad's videos. They seem like cool people and I can see why Brad has built them as a team of collaborators around him. Unfortunately they have no talent for dramatic acting. I don't want to rub it in but no one in this cast could pass an audition for anything other than a Brad Jones film. I think the script is terrible but there's only so much blame you can put on it. I admire Jones for being a good friend and giving his friends acting opportunities but the cost is really making this the next best thing to unwatchable.
If you are a Brad Jones fan and curious about the film than I say it is worth seeing. I won't let my fandom for him though blind me to the fact that he made a bad film. I am sure he can come back from it. I would recommend at the very least to find another screenwriter collaborator or to play into the strengths of his entourage.
Jones' acting in this film is surprisingly solid, having known him only from the Snob Reviews and his Midnight Screenings show. His performance, despite missteps and repeated driving&cigarette smoking, definitely carries the film. Brian Lewis as the policeman does a pretty fair job for looking nothing like a policeman, and Sarah Ogg and Jillian Z also turn out decent performances, despite a lackluster script. Brian Irving seems quite unfit as the mystic Carl Stowers, however. A deeper voiced, more menacing actor would have made more sense, and his light delivery and quarter-smile give him away. I enjoy the black & white writer's cut, despite its sometimes ill-placed soundtrack. Aside from Jones' acting, what made this film more than just watchable was director Ryan's ability to establish a creepy, uneasy, or just unsettling atmosphere. The low budget nature of the film only added to dark tone it maintained. The dialogue was written quite decently, though it is sometimes delivered too unrealistically to take seriously (except for Jones mostly)(his terrible "AHH!" headache screams notwithstanding) The weakest link in the chain, though, is the pacing. The film is too tonally one note to illicit any real feeling other than unease after the halfway point. Things become non-linear and clues come about, but until the climax, the viewer may struggle to gain footing as to what the hell is going on. I enjoyed it regardless.
Story- The story is extremely intriguing. I won't spoil it, but it is
truly something you would see in a David Lynch film (maybe not quite as
subtle). The twist is excellent, the setup is excellent, it's all
around a solid story.
Characters- The character Brad Jones plays is really the only interesting one. He's obviously cynical, but there is still a relatable and likable trait in him (maybe it's because I'm also a cynic). He's layered, complex, and even more interesting when the twist is revealed. The supporting cast is necessary, but they're all very bland, and some are even awkwardly written. I recognize they're crucial to the plot, but they really felt like an annoyance getting in the way of Brad. Anyway, it is more about Brad's interaction with his environment, so them being well written wasn't extremely important.
Performances- Here's where the major issues come in. Seeing how this is an EXTREMELY low budget film, there are some aspects that are bound to have problems. One of which, is the performances. You could say the woodenness of them adds to the surrealistic atmosphere (such as in Suspiria), but I feel as if the film was trying to create a realistic atmosphere, with surrealistic undertones. However, that's not to say they're all bad, Brad does decent (most of the time), but it was very distracting overall.
Writing- Here's another major issue I have with this film. The writing is overall decent, but there are many instances in which it's very awkward. Again, it's fairly distracting.
Atmosphere/Tone/Imagery- This is where the film really shows it's true potential. It successfully creates a nightmarish atmosphere, which perfectly fits into the film's final intention. It's visually interesting as well, and there is one mental image that will not leave my mind. It's when Brad is laying with a dead boy. I don't know, that scene just sums up the entire tone of the film for me.
In conclusion, yes it has it's fair share of problems. The writing can be awkward, many of the characters are bland, the performances are mediocre at best, but the aspects that are done well make for a very interesting low budget thriller.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've only watched the Writer's Cut so far so I can only comment on this
from that angle.
The first 30 minutes are something of a drag to watch. They aren't bad and the setup does pay off in the end. However, some of the decisions made by Mark are really questionable and make no good logical sense. Why would you not call the cops at a restaurant robbery? Why would you not call the cops right from the start when a mysterious man just showed up at your house and died in your foyer?
By the time you get to the end of the movie, all of these poor choices will make complete sense. Mark's illogical way of thinking and the ill at ease feeling you'll get from his bad choices all serve as foreshadowing for the ending.
That said, I've heard the DVD cut contains foreshadowing and that might make this plot a little more understandable from the get go. Having seen it all now, I can honestly say I do like the lack of foreshadowing. Going through it the first time, not so much. If there was some way the first 30 or so minutes of this could have been tightened up and made a little more suspenseful, it would have been perfect. This might just be one of those movies you need to watch more than once to honestly and fully appreciate without sitting there, scratching your head and going, "Huh?" at some of the choices made.
Brad and Jillian definitely steal the show here with their acting. The weakest link in the acting chain is definitely Jerrid but he doesn't have as big of a role in this film and so it isn't as much of a detriment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Yes, I'm a fan of Brad Jones' other material but I'm also a fan of good
film making and for an INDIE BUDGET film, it's alright.
Brad Jones is the most captivating character in the film and he does a very good job whilst the rest of the acting was below average, for the most part.
The pacing and decision making didn't really seem to logically flow as well as it should have but considering the ending, it actually made me see that in a different light. The ending actually got me. I enjoyed it.
The biggest con was probably the pacing, some of the dialogue, and camera angles/cuts.
The music was absolutely top-notch for a flick like this. I loved the atmosphere the music made for movie. It added a variety to the atmosphere quite a bit too.
If this film had a bigger budget, it might have been better but for what it is, it was alright and I'm glad I watched it. I'd like to see more of this caliber.
I'm a massive fan of Brad Jones, i love the cinema snob and all his
other shows, and i love his movie 'Gameboys', but i don't think this is
his strongest film.
A lot of people are talking about the quality of the film, but I don't think Brad would really think that makes his film any better, as he frequently talks about how a lot of films are made better by grain on VHS, and in fact all his other films were shot directly to VHS. Yes this film looks good, the lighting is alright, but that doesn't make the film.
Personally, i really don't like the writing of the film, mostly because i don't feel that this is how real people would react if they were put in these situations. There are certain moments when it does seem real, but for the most part, they feel like characters in a film reading from a script. There is only about 5 minutes of exposition, and even that doesn't really explain a whole lot about the characters or the scenario. None of the characters are really given any interesting attributes, so they're all pretty forgettable.
That being said, it does feel like a solid film, and very enjoyable to watch. The camera work is pretty incredible, though i think they could have done a lot more with the black and white (see Good Night and Good Luck), but the use of camera angles was non-intrusive and worked very well for the movie. The score was really good, simple and effective, though some of the music added seemed out of place and took away a bit from the atmosphere. The acting is good, though not amazing, except for Brad who gives an incredible performance.
It's a fun film, I say it's worth the watch especially because it's free to view on The Cinema Snob website. I give the film a 6/10 mostly because the writing holds it back, but I really did love watching this movie.
First I have to say that I'm a fan of some lower budget movies. To me
very few filmmakers make it big without first going through making a
low budget/independent movie. Paranoia is just one of those low
The film stars Brad Jones, who does movie reviews online as The Cinema Snob, along with several other people who appear in his online videos including his wife Jillian. Brad plays Mark, a writer who has just had his wife leave him and begins to have a very surreal night.
The problem with a thriller is you really have to build up tension and make the audience anxious about what's going to happen next. I feel that this movie does a good job of accomplishing that. As Mark goes through his night he meets up with a few people and doesn't quite know what to make of the whole situation. Add to that the fact that the news is reporting that there is a killer on the loose in his town.
The movie starts off a bit slow and builds up towards the inevitable climax. Now I won't give away the end of the movie but I had to say I didn't completely see it coming and it's rare that a movie's ending can genuinely surprise me.
I've said what's good about this movie so what's the bad? Well obviously since this is a low budget movie what effects are there aren't that good and while Brad's acting is quite good you can see that most everyone else hasn't acted that much before. I have to say that I think the most wooden performance goes to Brian Irving who plays the character of Carl. Sarah Lewis who plays Mark's wife does a good job even though most of her scenes are pretty short and her husband Brian Lewis plays a pretty convincing cop. Brad's wife Jillian plays a waitress and has some good emotional scenes and makes it believable. But again when you are making a low budget movie and filling it with your friends not everyone is going to be a seasoned actor but it doesn't hurt the movie and I have to say I've seen movies with acting so bad you can't even watch it.
Now as of this review there are two versions of this movie. There is the original version that was released on DVD and there is the Writer's Cut. Brad Jones wrote the movie but wasn't the director and didn't have final cut so in the original cut there's a lot of foreshadowing to the ending as well as the repeated use of the word paranoia. The Writer's Cut changes the movie to black and white, adds some songs to the soundtrack and removes the use of the word as well as some of the foreshadowing. I have to say if you are going to watch just one version of the movie go to The Cinema Snob website and watch the writer's cut.
I have heard that Brad's next movie will be a comedy based on his Cinema Snob character however I hope that when he's done with that he'll try another non-comedic movie because this was a good solid effort.
Filmed on a shoe string budget in the midwest, "Paranoia" is a pretty
damn good, if somewhat predictable, indie thriller. The film's star
Brad Jones is mainly known for his internet comedy, but he really comes
through in this darker, more disturbing role. If you don't like
microbudgeted filmmaking, you're not going to like this; and if you
simply don't like the filmmakers, you're also not going to like it.
On it's own, the music is top notch, the acting is very good, and the film's pacing keeps you interested. The main plot is that Brad has killed an intruder in his house who he thinks is a serial killer, so he goes through a long night of torment when getting rid of the body.
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